Ryan Dempster will have an enourmas amount of suitors. Lets dig into ’em.
Cubs (frontrunner) Demp’ loves Chicago, has a great relationship with managment, and donates a lot to the Cubs charities. There is no question he would like to return, and there is no question the Cubs want him back. I’m not even going to explain why because he has just been so good this year. If the Cubs offer a fair amount, he most likely will be back.
Astros (possible) If Dempster doesn’t return to the Cubs for whatever reason, look for him to have the Astros as a big suitor if they don’t sign Ben Sheets. This team needs pitching and will probably get it. It just depends which pitcher they sign.
Braves (possible) The Braves are looking for a veteran starting pitcher and Ryan Dempster is a very good one. He would be a great fit on the Braves, he is a good person, and a solid leader. The Braves like those types and should have serious interest in Ryan.
Mets (possible) If the Mets strike out on different targets, they could look to sign Ryan Dempster. He is the solid #2 the Mets need. Look for them to be big players on Demp’, they need him.
Rangers (dark horse) The Rangers could use a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. Dempster would make this a much better team.
Ben Sheets is going to get a lot of money somewhere despite being injury prone. The only question is where. Some teams interested could be the…
Yankees (frontrunner) The Yankees have a very good chance of signing CC Sabathia, but if they somehow miss out on him, look for them to turn to Ben Sheets. I think it’s almost 100% that they sign either CC or Sheets.
Astros (frontrunner) The Astros need to get some pitching and are only a Ben Sheets type of starter away from competing. They probably won’t have enough money to afford CC Sabathia, so why not get the next best starter on the market, Ben Sheets. They have a lot of money to spend Sheets lives in Texas. This team is definatly one of the frontrunners for him.
Red Sox (frontrunner) The Red Sox don’t really need Sheets, but they think he gives them the best rotation in the MLB, which is a true statment if they get him. They have a lot of money to burn this offseason and could just overpay for him even though they don’t have a need. This team is likely to be very agressive to grab one of the two aces before the Yankees do.
Mets (front runner) Look for the Mets to be very active in the Ben Sheets sweepstakes. They have said that their primary need to starting pitching, and assuming they can’t afford Sabathia, Sheets would be next in line. They have the money to get him and the need. I could see them really overpaying to grab him.
Brewers (possible) It is very possible the Brewers retain their ace. It seems like Sheets likes Milwaukee, and he would be crucial for the team if they want to stay competetive. They might be willing to pay a little bit extra to keep him away from the Astros. I don’t think it is very likely he stays, however, because Sheets is going to want a lot of money.
Rangers (dark horse) The Rangers are an interesting dark horse candidate. Ben Sheets lives in Dallas, and would probably like to move back home. The Rangers need starting pitching and could make a big offer to Sheets. If they want him badly enough, they could afford him.
I am starting a new series here called “Player Market.” It will be a sidebar link. I will put down players available via trade and free agency and name teams that could be interested. I will lable some as “frontrunners,” which means I think those will be the team(s) most likely to get the player. Then there will be “possible,” which means it is possible they will get the player, but they aren’t likely to be amoung the top contenders. Then there’s “slim chance,” this means the team will go after the player but don’t have a great chance at getting him. I will also call one team a “dark hourse.” Today, I will start off with CC Sabathia.
CC Sabathia is likely to be the most coveted player on the free agent market. Here are the teams interested and the chances of them getting him.
Yankees (frontrunner) The Yankees are going to be in heavy pursuit of CC. They have a lot of money coming off the books in contracts and have are huge starting pitching void. It looks like they are going to offer him whatever he wants. This team has a good chance at landing Sabathia.
Dodgers (frontrunner) I would not be surprised at all to see him go to the Dodgers. They also have a need at pitching because of Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and possibly Brad Penny becoming free agents. They will be looking for two in the offseason, and would love to add CC. He comes from LA as well, and may take a small discount to sign with the Dodgers over the Yankees.
Red Sox (possible) The Red Sox are a possible destination because they have a lot of money coming off the books, they think they are a starter away from being world champions once again, and the Yankees are going to go after him hard. The latter might be the most the strongest reason. If the Red Sox add CC they are hands down the best team in the MLB, and have the division locked up. I don’t think the Red Sox will get him, but look for them to go hard after him if for nothing else to drive up the price for the Yankees.
Mets (possible) The Mets also are possible. I doubt they would want to give out another 130 million+ to a pitcher, but they are the Mets. And their primary need is starting pitching. I expect them to poke their head in, but once they see his asking price they will pursue a cheaper free agent like AJ Burnett.
Rangers (slim chance) The Texas Rangers are going to look to add pitching in the offseason. They think they are a CC Sabathia type player away from contention. It has been said before they were a team that could go after him agressivley. I don’t think it’s very likely, though, because they probably won’t be able to pay as much as the Yankees can.
Astros (slim chance) The Houston Astros aren’t very likely at all, but I threw them in because they have a lot of money to spend and you never no what Drayton McLane will order Ed Wade to do. If they ae serious about contending, I could see them throwing money at CC. Even if they do, they probably won’t offer as much as the Yankees.
Angels (dark horse) The Angels are my dark horse because if they lose out on Mark Teixera, they might be able to afford Sabathia. They don’t have a need with 4 healthy starters and one returning from injury. They could look to trade Jered Weaver for a bat, however, and then sign Sabathia to take his place and give them an even deadlier rotation. I don’t think this scenerio is likely, but it is possible.
The Offseason Plan series has sadly ended. It was a lot of fun writing this. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, you can always click on the sidebar link: Offseason Plan to see them all. Here are the links for every team’s offseason plan…
Marlins, Astros, Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamond Backs, Dodgers, Mariners, Giants, Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Angels, Phillies, Rays, Royals, Reds, Rockies, Mets, Twins, Padres, Nationals, Rangers, Brewers, Pirates, Cardinals, A’s, Braves, Yankees.
The overachieving St. Louis Cardinals have faded from the playoff race recently, but could make a comback in 2009 with a succesful offseason. They need to add at least one starter with Kyle Lohse and Braden Looper hitting free agency. They also need a lefty reliever for the bullpen. A complete middle infield makeover is in order. It wouldn’t kill them to use Brendan Ryan at one of the positions, but the other must be sloved outside of the organazation. They will be in on all #3 or #4 type starters, as well as Will Ohman and Edgar Renteria. I picked them to sign both, as well as Mark Ellis in the offseason. It is going to be tough to compete in the NL Central, however. The Cubs are awesome, the Brewers are going to be very good even without CC Sabathia and maybe Ben Sheets, the Astros are likely to make some big splashes, and if certain Reds’ young players break out, the Cards could finish in fifth place. This team is going to have to move an outfielder in the offseason with Colby Rasmus likely to be called up from AAA. The one being shopped could be Rick Ankiel. With the bleak center field market, he could have a lot of interest. He is a free agent after 2009. It makes more sense to trade him instead of Skip Schumaker, who isn’t even arb. eligible untill after 2009. I think Ankiel should be traded for one of their needs. The Cardinals are a team that could continue to compete, but might also fall on their faces. However, a lot of people were saying they’d be awefull this year, and they were wrong. Don’t underestimate Tony LaRussa.
Todya, I will make the second team in the Offseason Plan series. Don’t forget, you can see all the teams I have written on the side-bar link labled “Offseason Plan.”
Whether it makes sense or not, the Houston Astros are going to try to run down the Cubs next year. You can expect a busy offseason by Drayton McLane and Ed Wade. MLB Trade Rumors says the Astros players are hoping to recruit Ben Sheets, one of the best free agents on the market. I don’t think the Astros should build a team this way, but if they can get Sheets, they become a pretty good team. They have an above average lineup. The starting ptiching is aweful, but if they sign Sheets and then another pitcher like Kyle Lohse, whom I both picked them to get in my Top 50 Free Agents, they would have an above average rotation. That means all they have to do is fix the bullpen and viola, the Astros are a winning team. Not good enough to catch the Cubs, but good enough to possibly get the wild card next year. Hopefully, for all Astros fans, the money isn’t a problem. Their payroll last year was almost 89 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. If I added right, they have about 70 million in contracts and arbitration in ’09. They probably can afford a 100 million payroll. If they sign Sheets and Lohse to 10 and 18 million a year deals, then they’d have 2 million to spend. Not much to add a starting catcher and 2 relievers with. If they backload contracts, they could still sign these guys. If they add 2 relievers at 4 million a year, that brings it to 106, leaving some money for a catcher like Pudge Rodriguez. I think he’ll sign for 2 years, 12 million, so 6 million a year. If they backload it to 4 million, then 8 millon, they’d be able to sneak him in. They give Benn Sheets 14 million in his first year, Lohse 8, the two relievers 2. The ‘Stros would have players with big raises in ’10, though.
Now that I have finished the free agent market series, I will list the offseason needs of every team. It’s just another way to find out what your team is interested in.
Braves- Starter, Reliever, Left Fielder, Center Fielder
Mets- Starter, Reliever, Left Fielder, First Basemen
Phillies- Starter, Reliever, Left Fielder
Marlins- Reliever, Catcher
Nationals- Starter, Reliever, two outfielders
Cubs- Reliever, Center Fielder
Brewers- Starter, Reliever (get 2), Center Fielder
Cardinals- Starter, Reliever, Second Basemen, Shortstop
Astros- Starter (get 2), Reliever (get 2), Catcher
Reds- Reliever, Center Fielder, Left Fielder, Shortstop, Catcher
Pirates- Starter, Reliever
Dodgers- Starter (get 2), Shortstop, Second Base, Third Base
Diamond Backs- Starter, Reliever, Second Base
Padres- Starter, Reliever, Left Fielder, Center Fielder
Rockies- Starter, Reliever, Second Basemen
Giants- Reliever, Shortstop, Third Basemen
Angels- Reliever, First Basemen, Left Fielder or DH
Rangers- Starter, Reliever, DH
A’s- Shortstop, Third Basemen
Mariners- Reliever, DH, Left Fielder
White Sox- Second Basemen
Twins- Reliever, Third Basemen, Shortstop
Tigers- Starter, Reliever, Catcher, Shortstop, Left Fielder
Royals- Starter, First Basemen, Catcher
Indians- Starter, Reliever, Second Basemen, Third Basemen/Shortstop
Yankees- Starter, Reliever, First Basemen/Left Fielder
Red Sox- Reliever, Catcher
Rays- Right Fielder, DH
Blue Jays- DH, Shortstop
Orioles- Starter, Reliever, First Basemen, Third Basemen, Shortstop